The Indiana Pacers tried their hardest, but thankfully, the Miami Heat were desperate to keep ahead in their playoff race, and Dwayne Wade was at his absolute best. It took an overtime, but in the end the Wade finished with 43 points and the Heat prevailed, 105-96, giving the Pacers a friendly nudge in the lottery.
It feels a little weird doing this, but right now, the Pacers are still 10th in the East at 28-48. On the bright side, they are only a couple of games ahead of New York and Philadelphia, so with a little luck and a few more losses, the Pacers could drop a few more places in the standings. Fingers crossed.
The Indiana Pacers don't learn. With the season winding down and the lottery being the only thing for fans to get excited about these days, the Pacers keep notching up pointless win after win. The latest victim is the Sacramento Kings, whom the Pacers defeated 102-95 in a come-from-behind victory.
That makes it eight consecutive home wins and six of seven.
Danny Granger scored 25 points in the second half to lead all scorers with 33, and added 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Troy Murphy had his usual double-double with 19 and 13. Hibbert and Watson both chipped in with 10 points apiece.
A couple of weeks ago, I was looking at the mock drafts based on standings, and the Indiana Pacers were in line to get a top five pick, possibly even the big one (John Wall) or two (Evan Turner). Now, with other teams tanking and the Pacers rolling off victories, the team has dropped to the tenth pick (based on standings), and in the coming draft, that is a huge difference in terms of talent.
Think about it. Out of all the teams that are not fighting to make the playoffs or improve their seed position, only the Pacers have a winning percentage over 50% over their last 10 games. 7 out of 10, which makes them by far the hottest non-playoff team in the league. Just sayin'.
Can't say it was a surprise. Good to see the Pacers back on track in their hunt for a solid lottery pick. Granger, Murphy and Watson really shouldn't be playing 35+ minutes a game at this stage of the season! Come on!
The Indiana Pacers are on a roll. Four straight and five of six. The latest victim today, the appalling Washington Wizards, who stumbled to their 13th consecutive loss.
Danny Granger had his third consecutive 30+ game with 31 points, 12-20 from the floor including 4-5 from three point range. Troy Murphy had 12 points and 19 rebounds, all on the defensive end. But the biggest surprise was Josh McRoberts, who started in the place of the injured Roy Hibbert (smacked in the jaw in last game) and scored 14 points and grabbed 12 boards, with 5 offensive.
It's easy to get carried away with this current hot streak, which is, let's face it, too little too late. The Pacers are not going to make the playoffs this season, and all this streak is going to do is ruin the chances of a better draft pick. Besides, out of the four wins, two games were against the Pistons, whom the Pacers swept this season, and one against the Wizards. The only upset win was against the Thunder. So let's not start pretending these wins are anything more than they are.
Nevertheless, it is good to see the team play with passion, as much as it hurts to watch the probability of a top five pick slipping out the back door.
This is what Granger had to say: "I really don't believe in trying not to win. I don't even know how you can say that about a team, tell them not to win. It goes against every principle of sportsmanship that's out there."
Danny, it's not like that. No one is telling the Pacers to lose games on purpose. But play the young guys significant minutes, rest the starters. See what happens. As much as I admire Danny's attitude, it's affecting the future of the franchise. The Pacers have been stuck in mediocrity for long enough.